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My thanks to Ross Woolford, Graham Finch, Mark Gauvin, Wilma Leung, George Pinch, David Hill, Tami McEwan, Christine Reid, Brian Bell, Kevin Kersten, Christine Webb, Amy Spencer-Chubey, John Davies, Maureen McLaughlin, Brian Hart, Mila Djuras, Cara Chandler, Ian Tait, David MacLellan, Marita Luk, Larry Clay, and Bruce Gray for their comments, tips, and resources. I hope you find at least a wee bit of value in this newsletter.
Have a "Top Drawer" day.
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These Alerts contain summaries and links to industry news, events, issues, information, products, resources, and more. If you have any new products, events, or information that you would like to have included, just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Ken's Top Pick
BC Residential Construction Performance Guide
BC Homeowner Protection Office offers the new, free, Residential Construction Performance Guide online. It explains how new homes should perform and which defects are covered under home warranty insurance in British Columbia. It includes defects in design, labour or materials and is designed primarily for conventional low-rise, wood-frame homes.
BC Housing Market Update March 2011
BC Real Estate Association online video with Chief Economist Cameron Muir discussing the February 2011 statistics and an in depth look at net migration in the BC regions.
BC Home Builders Forecast Housing Starts to Moderate
Pulse Survey conducted by the Canadian Home Builders Association shows new home builders in British Columbia expect total housing starts to be about 25,000 units in 2011, moderated from the 26,479 units started in 2010. (PDF)
BC Mortgage Rate Forecast March 2011
BC Real Estate Association mortgage rate forecast says rates have thus far evolved in-line with their December 2010 forecast, with the 5-year fixed rate reaching 5.44 per cent and the 1-year rate hitting 3.50 per cent in mid–February. Mortgage spreads have returned to historically normal levels and they expect these spreads to remain fairly stable in subsequent quarters. (PDF)
BC Construction Looking Forward 2011-2019
Construction Sector Council report BC Construction Looking Forward 2011-2019 analyzes employment requirements, available workforce, training and certification programs, replacement demand related to retirements, workforce mobility and market rankings for 33 trades and occupations over the next nine years. Free registration required.
Canada’s Residential Construction Industry Outlook Winter 2011
Conference Board of Canada report examines the short-and medium-term economic and profitability outlook for Canada’s Residential Construction Industry. It highlights policy changes, interest rates, and job creation. Free registration required to download full report.
2011 Outlook For Canadian Multi-Residential Sectors
Canadian Property Management online video discusses the highs and lows of 2010's multi-residential market, the outlook for this real estate sector and the challenges it will face this year.
Provincial Outlook March 2011
Royal Bank of Canada monthly provincial economic update charts and tables show provincial economies are facing a period of sustained growth, albeit still modest for the most part. (PDF)
Canadian Infrastructure Investments Sustain Construction Levels & Stabilize Costs
BTY annual review of cost drivers in the construction industry, and the factors behind the changing marketplace says the story for 2011 is a wave of major new infrastructure projects that will continue to sustain construction levels and stabilize costs. The soft housing market in every province except B.C. and Alberta will continue to moderate cost increases through 2011. (PDF)
BC Business Review Of 2011 Federal Budget
Business Council of BC provide their comments on the recent 2011 Federal budget. (PDF)
Social Media Marketing Campaign To Sell New Homes
US National Association of Home Builders describes how S&A Homes stretched its marketing budget by launching a social media marketing campaign to showcase its homes, communities and locations and target specific buyers.
Recognizing When A Remodeling Prospect Is Not A Good Fit
Remodeling Magazine offers tips on how to not compromise your company culture by taking on jobs for clients who are a poor fit for your business.
Proactive Tax Preparation
Vancouver Regional Construction Association newsletter article on proactive tax preparation by Ron Coleman describes some ways businesses and individuals can keep more of their hard earned money.
Canadian Employment Insurance For Self-Employed
Government of Canada new Fairness for the Self-Employed Act extends Employment Insurance special benefits, including maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate care benefits, to the self employed.
How To Start An Immigrant Construction Employment Program
Construction Sector Council free Implementation Guide on How to Start and Operate an Immigrant Construction Employment Program, gives instructions on how to implement an immigrant construction employment program, as well as tools and templates that can be used or adapted for the purpose.
Business Suggestions For Emergency Preparedness
Vancouver Regional Construction Association offers some resource materials to help you prepare for the eventuality of having to deal with a crisis.
Use Google SketchUp To Layout & Estimate A Tiling Job
Fine Homebuilding describes how to use a Google SketchUp model to layout, estimate, and build a takeoff list for a tiling job.
Canadian Construction Bid Opportunity Site
A number of Canadian construction associations have teamed up and launched Link2Build, a construction-only bid opportunity website. Targeted at both bidders and project owners, it consolidates project data from almost all of Canada’s local construction associations.
BC HST Is Preferable To Previous Provincial Sales Tax
Business Council of British Columbia outlines some of the reasons why they believe the HST is a smart tax policy & clearly preferable to the previous Provincial Sales Tax from an economic perspective. (PDF)
2010 BC Georgie Award Winners
Canadian Home Builders Association of BC displays winners of the 2010 BC Georgie Awards for the home building industry.
Greater Vancouver renOVATION Award Finalists For 2011
Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association lists finalists for their renOVATION Awards program that recognizes excellence in renovation construction and design.
The New Home In 2015
US National Association of Home Builders study shows that while consumer hesitations on home buying is waning, the recent housing downturn has changed what Americans are looking for in their next home. It says they will be smaller, greener and more casual.
Trend Toward Smaller Homes May Not Be Permanent
Builder Magazine says as markets recover, expect the family, elite, and higher-income groups to return, and thus the size and price of new homes will also trend higher.
Residential Outdoor Living Trends For 2011
Custom Home magazine says topping the list of most popular outdoor living features for this year are exterior lighting (96.2 percent), fire pits/fireplaces (94.2 percent), seating/dining areas (94.1 percent), grills (93.8) percent, and installed seating such as benches, seat walls, ledges, and boulders (89.5 percent). Weatherized outdoor furniture (83.6 percent) and counter space (74.2 percent) also are popular elements that deliver on consumers' desire for function.
Resource Site For Planning Home Design & Remodeling
Houzz offers information and resources on house design, as well as a way to keep track of ideas for the time you may want to renovate or build. You are able to save favourite photos to an ideabook and create separate folders like kitchen, patio, etc. You can view photos & sort by room type, location, style, etc.
Design Details For Kitchen Backsplashes
Builder Magazine says it’s often treated as an afterthought, but a great backsplash can be one of the most crucial design elements in any kitchen.
Design Ideas For Showers & Tubs
Builder Magazine describes examples where the shower or tub takes center stage in a bathroom.
NEWBuildS Strategic Network For Engineered Wood In Mid-Rise Buildings
Canadian Institute for Research in Construction says the new strategic network for innovative wood products and building systems, NEWBuildS (Network on Engineered Wood-based Building Systems), has been established to develop design methods and construction technologies for wood-based products as a primary structural material for mid-rise buildings.
Comparing New Urbanist & Conventional Suburban Neighbourhoods
CMHC study Comparing Canadian New Urbanist and Conventional Suburban Neighbourhoods explores travel and social behaviour differences between selected new urbanist and conventional suburban neighbourhoods in Canada. (PDF)
What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?
Daniel Denk, President of Janda Busse Treatment Systems says:
"Really interesting newsletter! I know quite a few people that would be interested in it and will pass on the link."
Please feel free to let others know about BC Building Info.
BC Gov: Release Date For Next BC Codes Changed To Spring 2012
BC Building and Safety Standards Branch says the release date for the next editions of BC Codes has been changed to spring 2012. (PDF)
BC Code Interpretations
The Interpretations Committee helps gain consistency in the application of our codes. The Building Officials Association of BC regularly updates the interpretations they have made on the 2006 version of the BC Building Code.
BC Building Code Soil Gas & Radon Provisions
BC Building and Safety Standards Branch provides some of the 2006 BC Building Code Technical Provisions for soil gas control. (PDF)
Proposed Vancouver Non-Road Diesel Engine Initiative
Metro Vancouver is proposing an initiative to reduce diesel emissions from privately and publicly owned non-road diesel machines such as excavators, backhoes, forklifts and loaders.
Consultation On BC Construction ER Project
WorkSafeBC is asking for input into whether it should continue the Construction Experience Rating (ER) Program, or conclude it and move construction industry firms into the ER plan applied to all other industries. Also at issue is if WorkSafeBC was to conclude the Construction ER Program, whether construction firms should be moved into the ER Plan with no transition, or if construction firms should be stepped into the ER Plan. The consultation period will end on April 30, 2011.
Approved Certification Marks For Electrical Products In BC
The BC Electrical Safety Regulation says electrical equipment must bear evidence of either a mark or a label of a certification agency accredited by the Standards Council of Canada or an approval label issued by the British Columbia Safety Authority. This Bulletin specifies the certification/approval marks and labels that are acceptable in British Columbia. (PDF)
Revision Of BC Requirements For Retrofitting Fluorescent Fixtures
BC Safety Authority bulletin provides clarification on BCSA permit requirements when work is being performed with regard to fluorescent light fixtures. (PDF)
BC Business Response To New Water Sustainability Act
Business Council of BC provide their comments on the Ministry of Environment’s Policy Proposal for the Water Sustainability Act. (PDF)
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Introduction To Building Science Of Building Enclosures
Building Science online slide show presentation explain the benefits of the perfect wall: a system that can be built in any climate, with any conditions inside, and not sustain damage (assuming that somebody will pay for it). (PDF)
High Performance Enclosure Design
Building Science online slide show presentation offers design recommendations for energy efficient building enclosures appropriate for net-zero energy buildings. (PDF)
Thick As A Brick
Building Science describes how to insulate the interior of a mass wall in a cold climate without causing damage from freeze/thaw cycles.
Air Conditioner Basics
Green Building Advisor answers common questions about cooling equipment.
Daylighting Basics & Energy Savings
American Architectural Manufacturers Association daylighting fact sheet provides a clear distinction between side-lighting, which includes products installed primarily vertically such as windows, doors, curtain walls and storefronts, and top-lighting, which includes products installed primarily overhead such as skylights, roof windows and tubular daylighting devices. (PDF)
Reviving An Old Debate On Vapor Barriers
Green Building Advisor says evidence suggests that interior polyethylene vapor barriers can cause problems, but architects still specify them.
Report On Wood Solutions For Mid-Rise Construction In Ontario
Canadian Wood Council report contains some of the research findings from the Wood Solutions in mid-rise construction study. It highlights some of the opportunities, challenges, considerations as well as some of the implications that would be associated with expanded wood use in the mid-rise market sector in Ontario. (PDF)
Excessive Use Of Self Adhesive Membranes In Wood Frame Construction
RDH Building Engineering bulletin on Excessive Use Of Self Adhesive Membranes In Wood Frame Construction says there can be a lack of recognition of the reduction of drying capability that is inherent in using vapor impermeable membrane within a wood-frame wall that is intended to otherwise dry to the exterior. (PDF)
When Sunshine Drives Moisture Into Walls
Green Building Advisor says because of inward solar vapor drive, vapor diffusion from the outside inward is often more worrisome than vapor diffusion from the inside outward. So you must have a good vapor barrier strategy.
3 Problems With Fiberglass Batt Insulation In Floors
Energy Vanguard describes three problems with fiberglass batt insulation in floors, including batts falling down, batts not in contact with subfloor, and batts compressed.
Infiltration Effects On Residential Pollutant Concentrations & Ventilation
US DOE report Infiltration Effects on Residential Pollutant Concentrations for Continuous and Intermittent Mechanical Ventilation Approaches presents a methodology for comparing ASHRAE- and non-ASHRAE-specified ventilation scenarios on relative indoor pollutant concentrations. The results suggest that long-term concentrations are the most important metric for assessing the effectiveness of whole-house ventilation systems in meeting exposure standards and that, if chronic health exposure standards are met, acute standards will also be met. (PDF)
Increasing Northern Housing Ventilation Rates With HRVs
CMHC research showed the increase in ventilation associated with the use of properly installed and operated HRVs in northern housing can reduce indoor air contaminants. (PDF)
Wood Moisture & Designing For Durability
Woodworks online slide show presentation describes theory of moisture in wood, and how to design for durability. (PDF)
Mould & Moisture Management Standard For New Construction
GREENGUARD Environmental Institute standard ANSI/GREENGUARD Environmental Institute Mold and Moisture Management Standard for New Construction (ANSI / GEI – MMS1001) has been approved by American National Standards Institute. This national standard focuses solely on mold and moisture issues that can arise in the construction of new buildings, and details design, construction and maintenance practices for preventing the harmful growth of mold.
Guide To 40% Whole-House Energy Savings In Cold & Very Cold Climate
US Department of Energy online Guide to 40% Whole-House Energy Savings in the Cold and Very Cold Climate describes measures builders can use to construct homes that have whole-house energy savings of 40% in the cold and very cold climate regions. (PDF)
Thermal Impact Of Fasteners In High-Performance Wood-Framed Walls
US National Renewable Energy Laboratory paper on Thermal Impact of Fasteners in High-Performance Wood-Framed Walls discusses high-performance wood-framed walls that use much less than 40% of the energy consumed by similar homes built to minimum code, and evaluates the thermal impact of fasteners used to construct these walls. (PDF)
Greenest Homes Are Houses Located Near Public Transit
US Environmental Protection Agency study has concluded the greenest homes are the houses located near public transit. Typical residents of a suburban neighborhood where car travel is a practical necessity use more energy for transportation than their house consumes, the study said. Residents of urban areas who rely on public transit use less energy in total, even if their homes use more energy than the suburban houses. (PDF)
Cost Versus Benefit Analysis Of Green For Builders
Big Builder says some so-called green building practices can give builders a competitive edge on the existing-home market, and offers a cost versus benefit analysis to show how they can balance the costs with consumers' ability to pay.
Assessment Criteria For New Home Energy Efficient & Green Labels
Canadian Home Builders Association report supports the association in determining which label initiatives, if any, merit their endorsement to builders, and on what basis. It outlines standards and criteria by which to assess current label regimes. (PDF)
Green New Home Labels & Considerations
Canadian Home Builders Association report assists home builders in ensuring that the label system they are considering provides the scope, administrative support and market credibility that suits their business objectives. (PDF)
Renewable Energy Loses Its Glitter In 2011
Renewable Energy World magazine says global consulting firm Deloitte reports the tide has turned for renewable energy with many projects stalled or killed by issues ranging from the global economy, the state of government finances, difficulties in funding, and regulatory uncertainty.
Update On Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing Programs
Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory policy brief provides an overview of all currently operating commercial PACE programs, including project data, the various financing mechanisms that are being piloted, and common challenges across programs. It also includes a summary of programs in the mid-to-late developmental stage. (PDF)
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Five High-End Products & Their Low-Cost Alternatives
Builder Magazine describes five cool, high-end products you might have chosen five or six years ago, and five options that are equally good looking but priced more affordably.
Tool Test Of Framing Nailers
Tools Of The Trade summarizes tests of framing guns by a framing contractor, who looks for a model that is comfortable to handle, able to toenail well, and powerful enough to drive nails flush every time. He tested 12 stick nailers: the Bosch SN350-34C, the Bostitch F28WW and F33PT, the DeWalt D51825, the Grip-Rite GRTFC83, the Hitachi NR83AA3, the Makita AN943, the Max SN883CH/34, the Paslode PF350S, the Porter-Cable FC350A, the Ridgid R350CHA, and the Senco SN901XP.
Online Videos On Specialty Circular Saw Blades
Jon Eakes offers free online videos that provide basic information of how circular saw blades are made and how they work, or don't work.
SketchUp Model Of Ultimate Miter-Saw Stand
Fine Homebuilding offers a free SketchUp model of the ultimate miter-saw stand that is a perfect compromise between custom-but-cumbersome workshop cutting stations and the simple-but-nimble manufactured saw stands.
How Tankless Hot Water Heaters Work
Fine Homebuilding describes how a tankless hot water heater works and offers information on choosing and installing a tankless hot water heater.
Video On New Types Of Glass In The Future
Corning online video A Day Made of Glass shows the different types of glass that may become commonplace in the future.
White Paper On Home Control Products & Industry
Continental Automated Buildings Association white paper examines lighting control, access control, energy conservation, home temperature comfort control, and other features. It identifies trends over time and examines the benefits and barriers that must be addressed for players to realize the potential of emerging home control solutions in the marketplace. Free registration required.
US Consumer Product Safety Database
US Consumer Product Safety Commission site Safer Products database allows consumers to submit reports of harm or risks of harm, and to search for safety information on products they own or may be considering buying. Reporting product safety incidents through this site will help CPSC identify product hazards quicker and provide consumers with safety information on products in and around the home.
Listing Of BC Suppliers Of Concrete & Related Products
BC Ready Mixed Concrete Association lists their members from British Columbia who supply concrete and related products.
Tiling Over Plywood Subfloors
Journal of Light Construction explains how to beef up plywood subfloors to limit deflection, and how to isolate the tile setting bed from potential wood movement using the latest high-tech membranes.
Where Housewrap Goes When Using Exterior Foam
Green Building Advisor says if you are installing “innie” windows, your housewrap should go under the foam, and if you are installing “outie” windows, your housewrap should go over the foam.
Common Housewrap Errors
Exterior Contractor magazine gives descriptions of seven common mistakes contractors make when installing housewraps.
Concrete Network provides concrete curing tips and information.
How To Install Cellulose Insulation
Green Building Advisor provides detailed instructions for blowing loose-fill cellulose on attic floors and dense-packing walls.
Replacing A Kitchen Sink
Fine Homebuilding provides online video on Replacing A Kitchen Sink which describes installation, caulking, and plumbing.
Why HVAC Professionals Do The Heat Loss Math
Plumbing & Hydronic Contractor magazine describes the issues and benefits of doing a proper heat loss calculation when designing heating systems.
Making A Steel Door Look Like Wood
Online video from ZAR shows how to apply fake wood grain to a steel door, for the look of real wood.
Peter Simpson Blog For BC Building Industry
Peter Simpson, President & CEO of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association writes a regular blog on issues and ideas relevant to new home builders and renovators. You can subscribe to it free through an RSS feed.
Purchasable Book On Modern Hydronic Heating 3rd Edition
Radiant Professionals Alliance sells Modern Hydronic Heating for Residential & Light Commercial, 3rd Edition. Heavily illustrated with product and installation photos, and hundreds of new, full-color, highly detailed schematics, this 744 page edition is a one-of-a-kind comprehensive reference on contemporary hydronic heating. $225 USD
Online Videos On Making Built-In Cabinetry
Carpenter Kreg McMahon produced this nine-part soup-to-nuts video series demonstrating techniques for constructing built-ins in the shop and on site.
Resource Site On Carpets & Rugs
Carpet and Rug Institute is an industry site that provides information and resources on carpet and rugs.
Resource Site On Magazines For The Glass Industry
Glass database includes information from USGlass magazine, Door & Window Manufacturer magazine, AGRR magazine, Window Film magazine, Architects Guide to Glass & Metal, Solar Glazing magazine and Decorative Glass magazine.
Vancouver Island Trade Show In Victoria
ASHRAE Vancouver Island Chapter presents their biennial Region XI tradeshow Thursday, April 7th in Victoria. (PDF)
2011 National Existing Buildings Symposium In Toronto
Canada Green Building Council 2011 National Existing Buildings Symposium in Toronto April 13th & 14th will focus on existing buildings and communities, with interactive sessions discussing low carbon communities, building envelope design, community regeneration models, energy benchmarking, + more.
Canadian Building Science & Technology Conference In Winnipeg
The 13th Canadian Conference on Building Science and Technology will be held in Winnipeg May 10-13. It will emphasize new innovations and ideas which are still under development in the building science industry and illustrate how past techniques and technology have helped to bring us to this point.
Communications Trade Show In Kelowna
The annual Canadian CommTech Show & Seminars, held in Kelowna May 18-19, offers a two-day exhibitor trade show and 20+ training seminars and hands-on workshops hosted by industry experts in communications technology.
Vancouver 2011 Festival Of Architecture
2011 Festival of Architecture, an AIBC/Architecture Canada/RAIC event held in Vancouver May 24-27, will bring together architects and allied professionals from around the province and across the country to explore best practices, new challenges, and innovative ways in which architects are leaving their indelible mark on our built and natural environments.
Planning Institute Of BC Annual Conference In Nanaimo
Planning Institute of BC 2011 Annual Conference will be held May 31 to June 3 in Nanaimo. With a theme of The Planning Tapestry: Weaving Our Way Together, this year’s conference will explore the creative, practical ways the planning profession is working with colleagues from many disciplines and from the community to address the urgent issues of our time.
Six-Storey Wood-Frame Construction Site Tour
Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association's Academy of Housing presents the Six-Storey Wood-Frame Construction Site Tour on April 2. It is an opportunity to visit the first six-storey building in Canada built using conventional wood-frame construction.
BC Builder Seminars On New Seismic & Envelope Requirements
BC Homeowner Protection Office spring 2010 Building Smart seminar New Seismic and Envelope Requirements covers seismic zone structural requirements and energy requirements changes to the BC Building Code in 2011/2012. The new provisions will change the way many walls, basements, slabs and roofs are designed and constructed. This seminar will explore real and practical solutions for both new seismic and envelope detailing.
Advanced Construction Estimating
Vancouver Regional Construction Association course on Advanced Construction Estimating to be held April 16 covers measurement and pricing of various items of work using productivity references, supplier and subcontractor bids, own-forces cost accounting techniques, determination and incorporation into a bid of appropriate site overheads and profit, and the preparation and submission of a bid in a simulated Bid Closing.
Workshop On Historic Wood Windows
Vancouver Heritage Foundation workshop Painted Shut: Open your Wood Windows, on Saturday, April 16th, is a hands-on demonstrative and illustrated course on historic wood windows. This course will deal with some challenges and inaccurate myths, and includes demonstration of the repair and maintenance of a painted-shut double-hung wood window.
BC Harmony House Talk & Tour
Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association’s Academy of Housing and CMHC present Harmony House Talk and Tour on April 19. The Harmony House is a winning entry in the CMHC Equilibrium Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative. The seminar and tour will highlight the high performance mechanical, energy management, building envelope and windows to be used in this project.
2011 Power Breakfast Series In Vancouver
National Aboriginal Energy and Power Association presents Vancouver 2011 Power Breakfast Series. Hosted at the Terminal City Club, this series of four breakfast meetings brings together Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal speakers to share best practices, personal experiences, key learnings as well as the tangible results of their relationship and business building activities.
Free Electrical Safety Training for Trades Workers
BC Hydro free workshop Electrical Safety Training for Trades Workers covers the basics of how electricity behaves, how to spot overhead and underground hazards, how to plan your work and carry it out in a safe manner, what to do if your equipment contacts a power line, and how to meet WorkSafeBC requirements for working near high-voltage lines.
BCBEC Seminar On Recent BCBC Appeal Board Decision #1682
Morrison Hershfield outlines an upcoming BC Building Envelope Council seminar, to be held on May 24, covering Recent BCBC Appeal Board Decision #1682: Use of Combustible Building Materials in Non-Combustible Wall Assemblies.
BC Masters Degrees In Building Science
BC Institute of Technology offers masters degrees in Building Science, including a Master of Engineering and a Master of Applied Science in Building Science.
Top 11 Free Email Programs For Windows
About offers a comprehensive comparison of 11 free email clients you can use with Windows.
Free Service Cleans Web Pages For Printing
Print Friendly cleans and formats web pages by removing ads, navigation and web page junk, so you save paper and ink when you print. It's free and easy to use.
Here's a little online video that will get your body bouncing. And to think I have trouble just clapping my hands to a simple beat!
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.
- George Washington Carver
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ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada